“To want to admire, instead of follow, Christ is not an invention of bad people; no it is more an invention of those who spinelessly want to keep themselves detached at a safe distance from Jesus.”—Søren Kierkegaard
Questions to Fight Against a Man-Centered View of Sanctification
The following is an excerpt from the end of a sermon by John Piper titled “Glorification: Conformed to Christ for the Supremacy of Christ”, centered on Romans 8:28-30. These questions posed at the end of the sermon absolutely destroyed me; I’ll definitely be asking myself these on a regular basis. I hope they likewise help keep your view of our sanctification as purposed in glorifying Christ rather than glorifying ourselves.
Without these final words in verse 29, O how easily we would slip into a man-centered view of sanctification that make us and our likeness to Christ the ultimate goal. It is a goal. But it is not the ultimate goal. The exaltation of Christ is the ultimate goal. So consider some questions to test yourself as we close. Are pursuing your own glory or Christ’s? Take some attributes of Christ that we might pursue.
Do I want to be strong like Christ, so I will be admired as strong, or so that I can defeat every adversary that would entice me to settle for any pleasure less than admiring the strongest person in the universe, Christ?
Do I want to be wise like Christ, so I will be admired as wise and intelligent, or so that I can discern and admire the One who is most truly and all-satisfyingly wise?
Do I want to be holy like Christ, so that I can be admired as holy, or so that I can be free from all unholy inhibitions that keep me from seeing and savoring the holiness of Christ?
Do I want to be loving like Christ, so I will be admired as a loving person, or so that I will enjoy extending to others, even in sufferings, the all-satisfying love of Christ?
Everything in these verses — all of God’s work, his choosing you, predestining you, calling you, justifying you, sanctifying you, bringing you to final glory — is designed by God not mainly to make much of us, but to free us and fit us to enjoy making much of Christ forever.
So I plead with you: Set your mind’s attention and your heart’s affection on the glory of Christ so that you will be changed from glory to glory into his image, so that you might fully enjoy what you were made for — making much of Christ.